Door-to-door and telemarketers

Consumers enter into unsolicited agreements when they buy goods or services over the phone from a telemarketer or from a door-to-door salesperson.

Door-to-door salesperson

A door-to-door salesperson cannot contact a consumer:

  • on a Sunday or public holiday;
  • before 9am or after 6pm on a weekday
  • before 9am or after 5pm on a Saturday.

The seller must explain up-front what the purpose of the visit is and produce identification.

The seller must inform the consumer that they can ask them to leave and they must leave immediately if asked to.

Consumers must also be provided with a copy of the contract and informed of their termination rights.

Telemarketers

A telemarketer must not contact consumers:

  • on a Sunday or a public holiday
  • before 9am or after 8pm on a weekday
  • before 9am or after 5pm on a Saturday.

Consumers must be provided with a copy of the contract either in person, by post or electronically within five days and the seller must inform the consumer of their termination rights.

Telemarketing - industry specific regulation

Telemarketers need to follow the same rules set out in the ACL as all other businesses. This also applies to businesses who use telemarketers or telemarketing firms, who may find themselves liable for any breaches made by the telemarketers working on their behalf.

There are industry standards that set the rules about when and how telemarketers, researchers and fax marketers can make contact: the Telemarketing and Research Calls Industry Standard 2007 and the Fax Marketing Industry Standard 2011 and it is ACMA’s role to ensure compliance. Permitted hours for telemarketing are regulated under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006, which is managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Australian Communications and Media Authority

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, (ACMA), is a federal government body with responsibilities in the following areas:

  • broadcasting – plan the channels that radio and television services use, issue and renew licences, regulate the content of radio and television services and administer the ownership and control rules for broadcasting services.
  • online content – regulate online content (including internet and mobile content) and enforce Australia’s anti-spam law.
  • telecommunications – licence Australia’s telecommunications carriers and regulate fixed line and mobile telecommunications.
  • radio-frequency spectrum – plan and manage the radio-frequency spectrum in Australia; responsible for compliance with licensing requirements and investigating complaints of interference to services.
  • Do Not Call Register.

Do Not Call Register

The Do Not Call Register (DNCR) is a secure database listing the fixed line, mobile, fax and VoIP numbers of individuals and government bodies wishing to avoid unsolicited telemarketing calls. Emergency services numbers are also eligible and businesses may register fax numbers to help prevent unsolicited faxes. Unsolicited telemarketing calls to DNCR numbers are prohibited and the ACMA oversees enforcement. Telemarketers pay the DNCR an annual subscription fee to have their lists checked – or ‘washed,’ to ensure their lists do not include DNCR numbers.

Under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006, public interest organisations – including charities, researchers, political parties and educational institutions – are still able to call numbers on the DNCR, but all telemarketers must conform to the industry standards (see above). For more information see www.donotcall.gov.au or call 1300 792 958.